Minister Longsworth updates media on progress at Marion Jones Stadium and Berger Field

vlcsnap-2013-09-06-11h51m45s61vlcsnap-2013-09-06-11h50m14s186The Government of Belize has undertaken a complete overhaul of the Marion Jones Stadium, but you probably know that already, as the renovations begun quite a few years now. It’s no question that the stadium holds colossal potential, but when will our athletes be able to make use of its facilities any time soon? Yesterday Minister of State in the Ministry of Sports provided an update, and laid out plans to include some key new features.

Hon. Herman Longsworth – Minister of State/Sports:
vlcsnap-2013-09-06-11h50m41s190Marion Jones is proceeding as planned, we are working grandstand facilities now, trying to complete them. There is going to be a new presentation, because I have come up with a new master plan for the facility which includes more activities, more disciplines. I want to introduce swimming to the facility, I also want to introduce cricket to the facility so I will sometime over the September celebrations – I will be in more detail unveiling what it is we want to do and we’re hoping to find the money. I am going vigorously after finding the money to be able to make this facility into a real national facility for the country.

 

Other proposed disciplines include beach volleyball, racquetball and the traditional track and field, volleyball and cycling. When pressed for a reason that might have caused a delay in renovations, the Minister bit back, asking what delays?

Reporter:
People believe this is hopelessly behind schedule

Hon. Herman Longsworth – Minister of State/Sports:
Which people are you talking about? Because the people who have the schedule don’t feel that way and I have always invited the media to come out here and see what is going on. You don’t come, but you talk. Come to Marion Jones and see what is going, come and see the progress. I’ve kept inviting you guys and you don’t come. Now why I said I want to make it into a real national facility, I mean I want to cover as many disciplines as I possibly can – initially it was only planned for track and field, cycling and football. We have introduced now beach volleyball, racket ball and a whole other things that I want to see go on because we have the space.

Minister Longsworth stated that though it is unlikely that the project will be completed by the end of this year, he hopes that several divisions will be open to the public by then. He added that his ministry is still seeking international funding, of which he has already received some commitments.

vlcsnap-2013-09-06-11h59m51s71vlcsnap-2013-09-06-12h00m05s199Then there’s the Berger Field, which like the Marion Jones Stadium, will see a major revamping of the immediate area. Minister Longsworth did acknowledge a postponement of this project, stating it has been stalled due to a change of plans.

Hon. Herman Longsworth – Minister of State/Sports
There’s been a change to Berger field, we are in conversation with FIFA and the FFB to have a meeting this coming week to finalize it.  But I can say in principle that we can put in five-a-side football,  so there has been a change. It is going to be a really nice facility if we can agree on the responsibilities that we must share.  So that why there is the delay, because we were in discussion to do something else other than what was initially planned, so we can cover more people and put in place proper programs. The intention really is to lease the facility to the FFB and have them develop the football structure, a proper football club there. So the FFB will, if we agree, take over the facility and run it on our behalf.

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